conflict-resolutionSome Tips for Communication  and Conflict Resolution

  • Make a conscious decision to talk about an issue – agree to a time and length of time (people usually get tired after about 45 minutes)
  • Avoid using: “you always…” and “you never …”. (Be more specific: “at the times when …”  “especially when. …happens “ “Did you ever notice that when … you?”)  Rather than blaming and criticizing, your comment now becomes information the partner can deal with.
  • Avoid using third parties. “I think … and Bob says so too…”. It is a way of making coalitions.
  • Avoid dragging things up form the past. It is a way of sabotaging change and adds fuel to your side.
  • Stay in the present and be specific with your complaint – say how and when and in what situation the issue arises and explain exactly why it irritates you.
  • Let each person talk and find the specifics – until they are finished with what they want to say.
  • Decide to talk about one issue at a time.

 

  • Don’t retaliate immediately in a defensive way: “yes but …” “…I am not always …” etc…  – It is more helpful to hold your defense for a moment, listen and wait until it is your time to talk
  • Notice your own tone of voice – Do you sound defensive or angry when you are apologizing? If yes, you are sending a double message – one of anger and one or apology. This in itself might cause conflict.
  • Your partner will get confused by the double message and most likely will respond to your angry voice, where as you are wanting the verbal content (apology) to be received. If you sound angry – find out where in the conversation you got hurt (Anger often masks hurt). Admit to the hurt. If you want to have the message received you have catch yourself and let go of the anger.
  • Examine if there is any truth in the accusationadmit 1% of it. Don’t say – “…yes but it is only…..”  By admitting to 1% your partner will feel heard and it will lower tension. It helps to de-escalate conflict. Admitting to truth is not a sign of weakness but strength.

 

  • When you are apologizing - eg: “I apologize and am truly sorry” ….don’t take it back by adding a “but “or any comment that minimizes the thing you apologized for.
  • Notice de-escalation signals such as actually agreeing with the other person, getting tired and exhausted, feeling momentarily resolved. This might be a time to consciously drop the issue and make a conscious decision to “drop it for the time being .”
  • If the conflict gets out of hand – ask for time out and negotiate for a time to talk later and stick to that later time.
  • If and when you get stuck – change chairs and talk from the other person’s view – it helps you getting insight to where they are coming from.
  • Don’t stay in a conflict mode for more than 45 minutes – make time to continue at another later date and time. This gives you time to think and feel about what you said and what the partner said.
  • Ask yourself if you can take your partner’s view as feedback and information rather than as a criticism of your whole personality
  • Congratulate each other for getting this far! At this point you might say: – “Okay – we agree to disagree. “ Or:  “We have come to a momentary resolution…” !

 

Compiled by Silvia Camastral

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